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All the Radiohead that's fit to print

March 28, 2011 |  4:24 pm


Radiohead launches its own newspaper Tuesday, a one-time freebie that the band is distributing worldwide. Some fans in New Zealand and England have already picked up their copies of The Universal Sigh.

OK, it's a funny name for a newspaper -- but The Radiohead Star-Ledger wouldn't have had been quite so Radiohead-y.

The newspaper is reported to include pieces from Robert McFarlane ("Mountains of the Mind"), a nonfiction writer who explores remote regions in England and Ireland, and Jay Griffiths, a woman who writes both fiction and nonfiction.

The British newspaper the Guardian got its copy of The Universal Sigh from a very special newspaperman:

Shortly after noon all became clear, when a small figure in skinny jeans and a brown hat stepped into an old-fashioned newspaper booth outside the shop. "That's Thom!" Thom Yorke, the band's lead singer, began handing out copies of the paper, pausing for a handshake and a photograph with each fan, occasionally even smiling. Someone shouted "We love you, Thom!" but there was no press forward to see one of the biggest rock stars in the world. It wasn't that kind of queue.

The Universal Sigh is a collaboration between the band and the artist Stanley Donwood, and, in the sense that it is printed on newsprint and contains both words and images, might indeed be described as a newspaper. The news courtesy of Radiohead is unlikely to trouble Newsnight, however. "Everything was normal and as it should be until one day I woke up and there was something wrong," opens the first story in the paper. "I didn't know what it was, but it was a kind of persistent thing that I couldn't quite ignore."

It might be a stretch to expect him to show up here in L.A., but on Tuesday The Universal Sigh will be handed out at two locations: in Silverlake and at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, both at 1 p.m. Our sibling blog Pop & Hiss found a photo of the Universal Sigh that leaked last week.

The band is expected to release a "newspaper album" version of its new record, "The King of Limbs," which the Telegraph reports will include a CD, two vinyl records, artwork and a newspaper different from Tuesday's.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Top: Radiohead's Colin Greenwood and Thom Yorke performing at the Hollywood Bowl in 2008. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times